The Hawks have jumped out to a 3-1 record in the first week, despite a barely positive point differential. Still, the team like many is attempting work new members into a fast-paced offense and a defense that has to counter a league-wide pace-and-space movement. Some growing pains are to be expected, and this stage of the season is the least predictive of overall performance.
With those qualifiers out of the way, an early story of this Hawks 2015-16 campaign is the strong play from a unit that was expected to be their weakest. I previously wrote about why rumors of the Hawks decline on the wings would be greatly overstated, at least defensively.
But who would have thought two guys perceived to be too small and not skilled enough to play big time minutes at this level would be the steadying force of the team thus far? We know the offensive talents Kyle Korver brings to the table and Thabo Sefolosha’s role on the team was etched in stone long ago as a long-armed defender, assuming full recovery from a NYPD-induced leg fracture.
That duo isn’t the two guys to which I’m alluding, however. Kent Bazemore and Lamar Patterson, please step forward.
Kent Bazemore profiles as a gazelle-like slasher with impressive hops, but jump shooting was never one of his biggest talents. After signing with Atlanta on a lean two year, $4 million deal, Baze responded with inconsistent but somewhat promising shooting performance last year.
Many thanks to Austin Clemens and his shot chart data for the above map. The size of the circles represents frequency of shot attempts and the colors range from red to blue, indicating high field goal percentages to low. Kent was most efficient in the right corner and the left wing, but at most other spots on the floor there is a lot of blue, especially in the midrange area. Continue Reading…